Although slowly paced and saddled with truly bizarre sub-titling this is a compelling and mesmerising film about the heroic defence of Stalingrad. Probably Ermler's best work although some might argue that the honour should go to 'Fragment of an Empire'. Stalin for once does not appear and is simply referred to as 'the Highest Commander'. Popov's music is effective and used sparingly. The acting by all is excellent and devoid of histrionics. Fully deserving of its Palme d'Or.
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